A volunteer visit to share the festive warmth with the elderly
2018 is coming to an end. Looking back on the past year, the Development Bureau (DEVB) has been fully occupied with work but many of our colleagues have been enthusiastic volunteers, willing to spend their leisure time to care for the society. Various departments under the DEVB have set up different volunteer groups, big or small, to bring warmth to all corners of the territory. This time, I would like to introduce two volunteer groups respectively from the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) and the Land Registry (LR). Earlier on, about 30 volunteers of them visited an elderly home to celebrate Christmas with and extend New Year wishes to the elderly people.
This time, the volunteers from the two departments paired up to give impromptu performances to the elderly of the Neighbourhood Advice-Action Council Shanghai Fraternity Association Care and Attention Home, such as playing Chinese music, singing and leading all people there to do fitness exercise, which brought smiles to the faces of the elderly. The atmosphere was filled with warmth and excitement. The Under Secretary for Development, Mr LIU Chun-san, and the Political Assistant, Mr FUNG Ying-lun, Allen, also attended the activity that day. Apart from paying a visit to the elderly home where they learned about the residential care facilities from the superintendent of the home, they came especially to show their support for the colleagues who volunteered. It is a greater blessing to give than to receive. We always encourage our colleagues to participate in volunteer services to convey love and care to society.
Increasing demand for elderly services
The volunteer group at the LR was set up in as early as 2003. Its representative Ms LAM Po-chu, Pearl, who took part in the preparation of this activity to bring warmth and concern to people during festive seasons, says that with the population ageing, there will certainly be an increasing demand for elderly services. In addition to hardware support, the demand for volunteer services will rise as well. She further shares with us that elderly visits are arranged whenever there are festivals, such as the Christmas, Mid-Autumn Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Chinese New Year’s Eve, to celebrate with the elderly together. On other occasions, volunteers will take the elderly to the countryside. After frequent visits, the elderly singletons will regard the volunteers as friends and ask after their health in their turn, which is indeed a very sweet thing to do.
More volunteers needed
The volunteer group of the CEDD was formed in 2007. According to the group’s representative, Mr WATT Wing-kay, very few people took part in voluntary activities organised by the department at the beginning. But as the group becomes more mature with time, more and more people take part in voluntary activities, which is very encouraging. Speaking of future plans, WATT stresses that no one would complain about having too many volunteers. Internally, he hopes to recruit more colleagues to take part in the group’s voluntary activities. Externally, the group will join hands with more volunteer groups of friendly organisations. Apart from the elderly, WATT says that their service targets also include disadvantaged families and children with Down’s Syndrome.
WATT shares with us that doing voluntary work reminds himself to pay more attention to people around him, thus bringing more harmony to his family. In addition, some colleagues can put their talents to use when participating in voluntary work. For example, volunteers who can play musical instruments can make friends through music. As they also have a chance to perform while contributing to the community, their participation in voluntary work actually serves two purposes at the same time.
I am aware that five of the “old pals” at today’s activity are over 100 years old. They are still rather healthy and even practise calligraphy in their free time. With the new year just around the corner, I wish all of you good health and happiness throughout the year! Besides proactively taking forward the work of land and infrastructure development as before, the DEVB will, through our town planning, greening, heritage conservation and building safety enhancement initiatives, build a better living environment for the public and make our city more liveable.
30 December, 2018